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Luc. Then swore he, that he was a stranger here. Adr. And true he swore, though yet forsworn he
Luc. Then pleaded I for you.
First, he did praise my beauty; then, my speech. Adr. Did'st speak him fair?
Have patience, I beseech. Adr. I cannot, nor I will not, hold me still; My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will. He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac'd, worse-bodied, shapeless every where;
Luc. Who would be jealous then of such a one? No evil lost is wail'd when it is gone.
Adr. Ah! but I think him better than I say, And yet would herein others' eyes were worse: Far from her nest the lapwing cries away;" My heart
prays for him, though my tongue do
Enter DROMIO of Syracuse.
Dro. S. Here, go; the desk, the purse; sweet now, make haste.
Luc. How hast thou lost thy breath?
By running fast.
sere,] That is, dry, withered. JOHNSON.
1 Stigmatical in making,] That is, marked or stigmatized by nature with deformity, as a token of his vicious disposition.
2 Far from her nest the lapwing, &c.] This expression seems to be proverbial-I have met with it in many of the old comick writers. STEEVENS.
Adr. Where is thy master, Dromio? is he well? Dro. S. No, he's in Tartar limbo, worse than hell: A devil in an everlasting garment3 hath him, One, whose hard heart is button'd up with steel; A fiend, a fairy, pitiless and rough;
A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff;
A back-friend, a shoulder-clapper, one that countermands
The passages of alleys, creeks, and narrow lands;* A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry-foot
One that, before the judgment, carries poor souls to hell.*
- an everlasting garment-] The sergeants, in those days, were clad in buff, as Dromio tells us the man was who arrested Antipholus. Buff is also a cant expression for a man's skin, a covering which lasts him as long as his life. Dromio therefore calls buff an everlasting garment: and in pursuance of this quibble on the word buff, he calls the sergeant, in the next scene, the "Picture of old Adam;" that is, of Adam before his fall, whilst he remained unclad: What, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled?"
and narrow lands;] Lands, I believe, in the present instance, mean, what we now call landing-places at the water-side. 5 A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry-foot well;] To run counter is to run backward, by mistaking the course of the animal pursued; to draw dry-foot is, I believe, to pursue by the track or prick of the foot; to run counter and draw dry foot well are, therefore, inconsistent. The jest consists in the ambiguity of the word counter, which means the wrong way in the chace, and a prison in London. The officer that arrested him was a sergeant of the counter. For the congruity of this jest with the scene of action, let our author answer. JOHNSON.
A hound that draws dry-foot, means what is usually called a blood-hound, trained to follow men by the scent. The expression occurs in an Irish Statute of the 10th of William III. for preservation of the game, which enacts, that all persons licensed for making and training up of setting dogs, shall, in every two years, during the continuance of their licence, be compelled to train up, teach, and make, one or more hounds, to hunt on dry foot. The practice of keeping blood-hounds was long continued in Ireland, and they were found of great use in detecting murderers and robbers. M. MASON.
Adr. Why, man, what is the matter?
Dro. S. I do not know the matter; he is 'rested on the case.
Adr. What, is he arrested? tell me, at whose
Dro. S. I know not at whose suit he is arrested,
But he's in a suit of buff, which 'rested him, that can I tell:
send him, mistress, redemption, the money in the desk?
Adr. Go fetch it, sister.-This I wonder at,
-poor souls to hell.] Hell was the cant term for an obscure dungeon in any of our prisons.
There was likewise a place of this name under the Exchequer Chamber, where the king's debtors were confined till they had paid the uttermost farthing." STEEVENS.
An account of the local situation of HELL may be found in the Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. X. p. 83, as the Commons passed through it to King William and Queen Mary's Coronation, and gave directions concerning it. In Queen Elizabeth's time the office of Clerk of the Treasury was situated there, as I find in Sir James Dyer's Reports, fol. 245, A, where mention is made of "one Christopher Hole Secondary del Treasurie, et un auncient attorney and practiser in le office del Clerke del Treasurie al HELL."
This I take to be the Treasury of the Court of Common Pleas, of which Sir James Dyer was Chief Justice, and which is now kept immediately under the Court of Exchequer. The Office of the Tally-Court of the Chamberlain of the Exchequer is still there, and tallies for many centuries back are piled up and preserved in this office. Two or three adjacent apartments have within a few years been converted to hold the Vouchers of the public Accounts, which had become so numerous as to overstock the place in which they were kept at Lincoln's Inn. These, therefore, belong to the Auditors of public Accounts. Other rooms are turned into coalcellars. There is a pump still standing of excellent water, called HELL Pump-And the place is to this day well known by the name of Hell. VAILLANT.
That he, unknown to me, should be in debt:-
Dro. S. Not on a band, but on a stronger thing;
Dro. S. No, no, the bell: 'tis time, that I were
It was two ere I left him, and now the clock strikes
Adr. The hours come back! that did I never
Dro. S. O yes, If any hour meet a sergeant, a'turns back for very fear.
Adr. As if time were in debt! how fondly dost thou reason?
Dro. S. Time is a very bankrupt, and owes more
Nay, he's a thief too: Have you not heard men say,
Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?
Adr. Go, Dromio; there's the money, bear it
And bring thy master home immediately.Come, sister; I am press'd down with conceit;8 Conceit, my comfort, and my injury.
was he arrested on a band?] A bond, i. e. an obligatory writing to pay a sum of money, was anciently spelt band. band is likewise a neckcloth. On this circumstance the humour of the passage turns.
conceit;] i. e. fanciful conception.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse.
Ant. S. There's not a man I meet, but doth
As if I were their well-acquainted friend;
Enter DROMIO of Syracuse.
Dro. S. Master, here's the gold you sent me for: What, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled?9
Ant. S. What gold is this? What Adam dost thou mean?
Dro. S. Not that Adam, that kept the paradise, but that Adam, that keeps the prison: he that goes in the calf's-skin that was killed for the prodigal; he that came behind you, sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake your liberty.
9 What, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled?] The allusion is to Adam, in his state of innocence, going naked; and immediately after the fall, being clothed in a frock of skins. Thus he was new apparelled: and, in like manner, the Sergeants of the Counter were formerly clad in buff, or calf's skin, as the author humorously a little lower calls it. These jests on Adam's dress are common among our old writers.